(Updated twice below)
Over at Fire Dog Lake, Scarecrow nicely summarizes the Republican talking point dissemination forum being passed off as a debate. Reality denial appears to be alive and well within the Republican ranks. About the only debating that occurred was over who is most like Ronald Reagan and who could blame Clinton the most.
If you listen to these men, it appears we do not have a credibility problem with the rest of the world, so we don’t need to worry about how we will restore America’s honor or prestige or repair alliances or international institutions. Torture was not mentioned, nor the Military Commissions Act, with its denial of habeas corpus (except for Paul), nor restrictions on attorneys, nor use of secret evidence or evidence extracted through torture. Kidnapping and renditions weren’t mentioned either, so I guess Canada, Europe and the Middle East are not upset about that; there was no mention of secret prisons, nor Guantanamo, nor indefinite detention without charges or trials, nor warrantless wiretapping, misuse of national security letters by the FBI, and so on. Only Paul, now just a curious anachronism in his own party, a true believer in the limited government credo of what used to be the Republican Party but not longer is, could offer a few lines about the continuing expansion of executive powers — and then only in reference to Terry Schiavo.This country can't survive another Republican presidency.
No one brought up problems at the Justice Department, nor concerns about politicizing justice, or interfering with prosecutions. Matthews asked about Karl Rove, but no one took the opportunity to say anything bad about Karl. When asked which of the Bush mistakes (unnamed) he would avoid, Huckabee said he’d avoid sending US jobs overseas.
According to these men, the President’s tax cuts for the rich are fine and can be made permanent, and there were many proposals to cut different taxes further. But those Democrats need to be stopped from pork barrel spending, because the budget is out of control. Drunken sailors came in for praise by comparison. There was no support for increasing revenues, even to pay for their glorious war.
After the “debate,” MSNBC’s panelists tried to hype the disagreements, but the[y] missed the fact that these men share a common mind. These people do not live on the same planet as the rest of us. When they wake up and look out the window, they do no[t] see what we see.
They do not see a nation angry at them about the war nor shamed by a government that sanctions torture. With their Reaganesque optimism, they do not see families struggling with health care costs, job security, retirement security, and college tuition. They don’t seem to worry whether the government is doing enough to protect us from unsafe working conditions, unsafe products, unsafe foods and drugs. They apparently don’t see global warming as a national security or economic threat. American democracy is not threatened; the Constitution is not under siege, and Americans don’t hate the Bush regime for what it has done to our liberties (Paul excepted). Attacks on the rights of women, gays, and immigrants and anyone who looks like the “enemy” are non-issues.
The collective denial shown by these men was even more surprising because one of the first questions asked concerned the fact that about only 22 percent of the American people think the country is on the right track, but you’d never know it from listening to these men. And because they seem to completely disconnected from what the American people believe, there is no possibility that any of these men could successfully address the nation’s concerns. Last night, the Republican Party declared itself to be in denial and irrelevant except as an out of touch opposition party with no ideas left for any of the hard questions of governance.
UPDATE: When this is the best the wingnut cheerleaders can come up with, you know they've got nothin'. Glenn Greenwald, on the other hand, has got plenty.
UPDATE II: As much as Republicans and their enablers have heaped praise upon Bush (to the point of ejaculation in a few instances) for the first six years of his presidentizing right up until the mid-term elections, it's curious that they now avoid mentioning his name at all. In fact, his name was mentioned exactly once during the debate last night, and even then it was only because one of the softball questions explicitly asked about him. He is their creation and the embodiment of everything they stand for. They all even sound like him. Why would they seek to distance themselves from someone they so wish to emulate?